Cliff Bleszinski Discusses Project BlueStreak, Opting for Free-to-Play, and Martin Lawrence

The Gears of War creator is doing a Reddit AMA right now for his newly announced game.

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Cliff Bleszinski unveiled his newest game, Project BlueStreak, yesterday, but very little about it was announced beyond the very basics: It's a free-to-play sci-fi arena shooter for PC. We've yet to see screenshots or video from it, but Bleszinski is answering questions about it and his new studio, Boss Key Productions, as part of a Reddit Ask Me Anything right now.

As a free-to-play game, one of the most immediate questions about BlueStreak is how Boss Key will make money off of it. When asked about what kind of microtransactions are planned for BlueStreak, he said, "The #1 question that comes up in Free to Play every time. Honest answer: I'm not sure, and it's entirely too easy to tell or make the call. Free to Play is one of those genres that means something entirely different depending on the game. For every model that feels like Las Vegas methods (Zynga, Candy Crush) there's folks who do it right, like League of Legends, or Warframe.

"I'm DETERMINED to not do Pay To Win."

"I've never shipped a Free to Play game before. That's one of the MANY reasons why we're going with Nexon, they can provide server structures and a global peek into gamers of all types and guide us into a game that's more 'Shut up and take my money' as opposed to 'shaking you down for your hard earned cash.' So we'll experiment, tweak, tune, and most importantly, build a positive community around the game as we develop it."

As for why he decided to make a free-to-play game, he said, "Anyone can just jump in and play your darned game. I'm DETERMINED to not do Pay To Win. Since this game is a shooter I want that one player who likes the game and doesn't feel like spending any money to be able to take down the trust fund kid that's spent a ton of money to have All The Stuff."

The reason we've yet to see any footage or screenshots from the game is because it doesn't really exist--Boss Key hasn't even decided on what engine to use yet. "It's wide open right now what tech we'd use," Bleszinski said. "As I build my team I need to take into account each department, engineering, art, level design, online, and of course, cost. Being a lean startup we've got to keep an eye on our burn rate and expenses." Despite this, he teased we'll be getting a "peek VERY soon."

In another comment, Bleszinski said he "adore[s]" Steam, but the decision regarding what platforms to release BlueStreak on lies with Nexon America, the game's publisher.

User-generated content sounds as if it's a lock, though just when it will be coming is uncertain. "Arjan [Brussee, COO] and I are HUGE fans of this sort of thing," he said. "On the PC it's easier than ever to have this sort of thing, let's just say we need to 'walk' before we 'run' in this department. We need to make a great game with a community around it, sort out if people actually want to spend a dime on it and then figure out how to get to user made arenas, at a minimum."

BlueStreak is not the game's final name, but it did prompt many people--myself included--to note that's also the name of a Martin Lawrence movie. Bleszinski notes the name is actually a reference to a Transformer, not the movie, but when one person inquired about the possibility of Lawrence playing a role in the game, Bleszinski replied, "With the internet and its goofy sense of humor I might have to stunt cast him as a voice role, because we're in a world where Potato Salad Kickstarters can make thousands of dollars."

(It's made $72,000 thus far, to be specific.)

The AMA is still underway as of this writing, so expect to hear more soon. We'll continue updating this story with any other noteworthy tidbits that come up.

Some other highlights:

  • "There will be an emphasis on story, but not in the traditional sense," Bleszinski says.
  • He still sees room for innovation in shooters, as evidenced by a game like Titanfall: "Titanfall tapped into some of the things that excite me in this area - wall running, double jumping, the smart pistol, the mech 'absorb bullets and fire them back at people.' That's the kind of thinking the FPS market needs, less damned red dot iron sights."
  • He attributes Gears of War 2's online issues to being understaffed.
  • The Boss Key logo is, in part, a wink to Zelda.
  • It's possible BlueStreak ends up on platforms other than PC: "PC First, and then we'll see. PC is where the comments generally are, the community gathers, and it's got that big global audience. In order to hit that global audience your game needs to look fantastic on the high end rigs but also run on a potato."

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